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How to decide on electrical fittings

When you are thinking of building a home, all the nitty-gritties associated with it come flooding. Definitely, finding the right kind of electrical fittings will be one of them. It is not as easy as one thinks.

Anyone who has actively taken part in the home building exercise will agree that it is simple, small issues like these that cause much worry than major decisions. The problem is made more complex as a majority of these decisions are based on personal tastes and budget.

There is a whole spectrum of products that form the full requirement list for a house. This includes Conduits and bends, AC Conduits, Switch boxes, Switches and Plates, Light boxes, Fan boxes, Junction boxes, Wires and MCBs.

Some basic guidelines and awareness is needed before you take a call on how and what to select. More than aesthetics, the prime concern should be utility and safety, when it comes to electrical fittings.

Making the right choice

It has been sometime since MS conduits have been replaced with PVC conduits. It is always better to look for heavy duty conduits with a thickness of 2 mm and ISI-mark. One easy way to identify the conduits is by colour markings. Green is for heavy duty conduits, red for light duty and some medium duty conduits are marked with blue.

AC conduits, with 50 mm diameter, are embedded in the walls to connect indoor and outdoor units of split ACs with copper piping. These are not heavy duty conduits, but make sure they have proper sealing against entry of insects and moisture from outside.

No one prefers wooden switch boxes these days for obvious reasons. Go for 16-gauge sheet metal for switch boxes, light boxes and fan hook boxes. Copper or aluminium are the best options for electric wires. Look for the ISI mark without fail. Wires might be marked ISI 694 (Part I) or IS 694 (Part II) – ISI 694 Part I is most often the preferred one. Similarly, between conventional and modular switches, the latter is trending now, because they are made of fine quality polycarbonates. Finally, choose a MCB or Miniature Circuit Breaker with ISI mark to have effective protection against earth leakage, short circuit and overload.

Vertical Gardens can make a huge difference

Gardens are the best way of entertainment and relaxation in the middle of hectic modern day routine. The main issue is space. Home gardens are ruled out in most of the apartments, but hardcore garden crazy people, just like the stubborn climber, always find a way out.

The new trend catching up is vertical gardens, which is all about plants in containers or geo felt bags mounted on the walls, some with even a drip irrigation system. What was popular in apartments abroad has caught the fancy of the metros and cities in India.

Green walls bring in a freshness to daily life. They have been accepted as symbols of growth, auspiciousness and fertility since time immemorial. That is why, more and more people are going for vertical garden, despite being the high cost involved. This is more of a passion than a lifestyle statement. Plants are proved to reduce stress. It is also believed that live plants can improve the vastu of a place.

How to make Vertical Gardens

So it is better to start with seaonsal flowers, philodendron and money plants are ideal for vertical home gardens. Also it is advisable to focus on a smaller area, which makes it easy to control weed infestation. The most preferred choice for vegetable farming is geobags. There are some who go for soil-less media, which comprises only chemicals or chemicals with fertilisers. Organic materials like coco peat, manure and other nutrients essential for plant growth are also some options being tried out for vertical gardens.

Choose a wall or a partition, and next step is to create a green wall. The green wall should be three-layer sandwich of frame, plastic sheet and fabric for the ease of mounting and unmounting. It is always better to have a free-standing green wall. Go for semi-shade plants, which survives on indirect sunlight.

Also, make provision for irrigation, be it drip irrigation or direct tap connection and also channels to drain off extra water. Hose for outdoor walls and spray gun for indoor walls are the most preferred solutions.

Designing the Drawing Room

The concept of drawing room has undergone drastic changes over time. This was one room that kept moving around the house design for quite some time before being properly defined now. In the early 20th Century, drawing room was identified in Western homes as exclusive space for women, while smoking room was marked out for men. This is based on the concept of using the space as a place to retire for chat after dinner.
So the evolution of drawing room is always about the easy flow from dining area. Modern concepts keep the drawing room design as open and easily accessible to facilitate this movement.
When this was adapted to our Eastern sensibilities, the drawing room ended up being the first space into which guests step in on entering the house. It creates the first impression about the home. So, the design of drawing room should communicate the philosophy of the home and its ambience.

Getting the drawing room design right

The first thing about drawing room is to make everyone feel included. Furniture should be placed in such a manner so that no one feels left out. Keep the room spacious enough after placing the main furniture to pull in those extra stools and ottomans, and chairs from other rooms. The idea is to create conversation areas.
Drawing rooms used to be the space where decorations were used most. Elaborate lighting equipment like chandeliers, intricate designs of mirrors and tapestries were the norm. But not anymore. The present trend is to keep it simple and elegant.
Since space is marked out for seating guests for conversations, it is essential to create handy spots for placing drinks and cups. Side tables or garden tools that go along with the general design will be much appreciated by the guests. Use photographs and paintings in tune with the general design pattern of the room. A minimal library with some good and interesting titles stacked up in an aesthetic manner can also do well to augur the look of the room.
On the whole, it is advisable to keep the room airy and open. This will immediately put the guests at ease.

A Flat in Trivandrum?

Still dreaming about owning a flat in Trivandrum? Signs from the market are looking good, says industry leaders.
Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations (CREDAI) is now stating that the big slump industry expected to happen after the historic demonetisation drive did not really happen. The lull, which happened after the November 8 announcement, was brief and the real estate sector in the city is bouncing back.
CREDAI officials said that a slump of 20 to 30 per cent was expected, but the industry survived without much impact. They attribute the initial slump, immediately after the announcement of demonetisation, to unfounded theories and predictions that were floating around. With social media going hyperactive, many outlandish projections were put forth. The impact, though immediate, did not last long.
Many of the prospective buyers put their purchase on hold, expecting the price to fall. Once this did not happen, the real estate shifted to recovery mode, say the industry watchers.

Land price did not affect flat sales

Another key factor expected to have an impact in the sales of apartments and flats was the drop in the price of land after the demonetisation. It is pointed out that the land and its value is just one of the many components that influence decisions about apartment projects. Most of the apartment projects were back on track within two months after the demonetisation was effected, said media reports.
On the positive front, there was a rise in deposits and banks responded by easing home loans. This was a support for the builders and the environment once again became favourable for genuine investors looking for returns in apartments and villas.
Reports from the different registration offices also show that the slackening in land sales happened only in November and December and then it picked up. So if you are still thinking about owning an apartment in Trivandrum, the time is right.


Our nation is witnessing a major change in tax reforms. May be the largest ever since Independence. The real estate scene is eagerly awaiting for the impact of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) to unfurl. Like all other sectors of industry, real estate scene will also be hugely impacted by the new reform.
At the starting point of any discussion, there is a consensus that GST will do away with the hugely complex taxation regime that existed in our nation. The new tax regime under GST will replace the multiple taxes collected by Union and State Governments and will become subsumed of all the indirect taxes, which includes Value-Added Tax (VAT) and service tax, central excise duty, commercial tax and octroi tax/charges among others.
While GST takes the country closer to a One Tax Regime, it is pertinent to note its highlights, before analysing it with reference to real estate.

Key factors of GST

The starting point is that GST will remove the cascading structure of taxation as it existed. In other words, there will no longer be tax on tax and the end user will not be subjected to the cumulative impact of it.
It has been pointed out that the GST will speed up taxation process through easy system of compliance by creating a uniform tax rate and structure. In the end this is expected to bring down additional tax burdens on consumers.
Even as experts work out the subtleties of the new regime, which will take some time to bring in clarity, the real estate should stay customer-oriented. As always, if the brand delivers its promises on time and in true spirits of the promise, the industry can overcome the initial glitches faced by the new tax regime.
In other words, the focus should be to focus on the basic industry commitments. This is the sure way to proceed and revive the industry.

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